Previous month:
December 2015
Next month:
February 2016

8 posts from January 2016

Do you remember your first cup of coffee?


My coffee cup yesterday.
Do you remember your first cup of coffee? I remember mine.

During lunch yesterday, my wife and I talked about our first cup of coffee.  Do you remember yours?  I remember mine.  I was studying late one night with my roommate while a student at Michigan State University.  He was a coffee drinker and I was not.  As I yawned, he encouraged me to try it.  The rest is history.

I remember introducing my son to caffeine during a time when he was in grade school and when he and I would shop for groceries on Saturday.  We were at the local Meijers where they had a stand for this drink called cappuccino.  We split one.  That was it.  He's 30 and he's a coffee drinker.  I wonder if his 18-month-old son will develop a taste for the beverage.

I often wonder whether I could stop my coffee habit cold turkey.  I drink a couple of cups a day.  It's almost ritual that a coffee mug is the second thing I say hello to in the morning.  

Do I want to?  Right now, I have no reason to stop.

My week in pictures as an almost 70-year-old baby boomer

I'm often asked what I do with my time as a retiree and a member of the first class of baby-boomers who turn 70 this year.  Being empty-nesters and with no day job, we have time for neighborhood meetings.  We went to two this past week and we supported the organization we volunteer with-the local Meals on Wheels.
Water collection at the Lansing Mall.
While we walked at the Lansing Mall this week we noticed a collection point for water to give to Flint's people.


Averill Woods Neighborhood Association meeting.
Our neighborhood-Averill Woods-had a meeting Thursday night. Local police gave a report.


Walking at the Lansing Mall.
One day this week, the cold took our walking to the Lansing Mall.
Judge Clark brought pens
At one of our meetings, local District Court Judge talked to our neighborhood. He brought pens.
We attended a fundraiser at a local restaurant.
My wife and I have started delivering Meals on Wheels. They had a fundraiser this week at a local restaurant.
My meeting shirt.
I like bright yellow as I demonstrate in my going to a meeting shirt this week.

My wife and I are delivering "Meals On Wheels" in Lansing, Michigan

Meals on wheels

Have you heard of Meals on Wheels where food is delivered to senior citizens and to the disabled?

When my mom was in her early 80s and lived in Bay City, she got Meals on Wheels delivered to her.  I know she enjoyed the human contact of whatever volunteer delivered the meals and she always bragged about how good they tasted.

She was at a point in her life where she didn't feel good enough to cook for herself.  Nutritionally, she was not getting the food she needed.  Meals on Wheels provided that.

A few months ago, my wife and I were at a community meeting for our part of town where somebody said volunteer drivers were needed.  We had the time and the motivation and after a little training, we started in December.

What have I learned?  There's all kinds of need out there.  We have seen the sparkle in the eye of people getting the hot meals.  It's good food and hopefully are shared moment at the door will impact both of us.

Looking back at my Vietnam era training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri

My mom and me at Fort Leonard Wood.
My mother and me pose at the Chapel at Fort Leonard Wood.

Thousands of guys went through Army training in the late sixties and early seventies at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.  I was one of them.  

It was a time of turmoil in this country as baby-boomers were faced with the draft and then with a lottery for the draft.  The Vietnam War during that time was incredibly unpopular and the perception seemed to be that anybody joining the military back then was the real enemy.

I was able to join an active U.S. Army Reserve unit in the Detroit area.  But the first requirement was to go through several months of training.  

I still remember individual drill sergeants, exercises we went on and fellow recruits I trained with.  The picture above was taken when my mom visited me at the post.  Notice the sign for the services for different denominations.


Gas in Lansing, Michigan for $1.59 today-Jan. 15-at this Shell station

Gas for $1.59 per gallon in Lansing.
This was the per gallon price this morning-Jan. 15-at the Shell station on Waverly and Old Lansing Road.

Even though it wasn't convenient to stop at this Shell station on Waverly and Old Lansing Road on the edge of Lansing, I probably should have to fill a half empty gas tank.  This was the price when we drove to the grocery store and two hours later, it was $1.54 a gallon.  Anybody have a lower price?

Baby-boomers: How many of you still stay in touch with your cousins?

A picture of me and my cousins.
This is a picture of me and four of my cousins. I'm not sure of the year.

I come from a very large extended family.  My mom had six brothers and five sisters and most of them had kids.  Her brothers and sisters lived near each other and they stayed in touch.

This meant that I had a lot of cousins.  Even though I was an only child, I had cousins who I would see often at family functions, especially Sunday dinners when the whole clan would get together.  My cousins had a variety of interests.  One was into cars and machines.  Another was into two-way radios, while others covered the rest of the waterfront from politics to carpentry.  A few were into playing games, like anything with cards.

As we grew-up and moved away, our contact was less and less.  Some had major life changes like losing a spouse.  One was killed in Vietnam.  They had kids and developed interests where our paths would not cross often.

Now most of us are firmly past middle age and some of us are get into the period of being full-fledged senior citizens.  We do have some contact at funerals of aunts and uncles.  But that's becoming less with only one aunt left.

Is the interest in renewing relationships still there?  With social media, it's much easier.  There's a whole lot of catching up that can still be enjoyed.

I still stay in touch with a couple.


Have you thought about the movies you want to see in 2016?

Our ticket stubs for Daddy's Home.
Only five bucks for the morning show at the mall.

It started when my wife was still teaching in the classroom.  I'd pick her up from school and we would catch an early movie and then go out for a sandwich.  

That was fun most of the time.  Occasionally, we saw some movies that were real clunkers.  We continue going when a movie piques our interest and we take advantage of the senior citizen discount.  

Last Wednesday, we saw "Daddy's Home" with Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg.  It's a story about Farrell's character who marries a woman with two children and Mark Wahlberg who was the ex-husband who comes back to reengage with his kids.  I know that the movie reflects plenty of real life situations along with the challenges.  But this looks at it with humor.  It makes you laugh and we did.

What about movies for this year, particularly during the cold months of January through March.  Two candidates are Whiskey Tango Foxtrot with Tina Fey who plays a young woman reporter going to cover the war in Afghanistan.  It's based on a true story but it looks like it has a funny side.  It comes out in early March.  Here's the trailer.



The second movie is about the famous Olympic athlete Jesse Owens who set records during the time of Hitler and World War II.  He also faced all the issues of being African American during that time.  The racism of the period was stark and it was more out in the open.  The movie is titled "Race" and it's out in February.  Here's the trailer.


This baby-boomer needs to prepare for turning 70-years-old this year

This selfie was taken with an app--Flare--which I'm helping to beta test.

I know it's only a number, but turning 70 this year seems like such a big number.  For instance, in ten years I'll be 80.  I know that physical and mental limitations start to show themselves more as one crosses these milestones.  As a result, I know that I need to carefully prioritize my time.  I know how easy it is to let time cruise by and not get anything done.

First, I need to deal with the number 70.  It's a head thing, an attitude.  It's easy to get lost in the feeling that I'm done.  I haven't had a day job for 11 years.  Somedays I've felt like my wheels have been spinning in the mud, while other days have felt like I'm stuck in a quick sand that's pulling me down.  

Let me be clear.  My wife is retired too.  And we enjoy doing things together.  Really, we do.  Since, we've gotten married our life has been built around our mutual faith in God.  We put value in being part of a church.  Those involvements come and go. The church we attend now and the one that we really like seems to retire attenders to the backbencher once they reach a certain age.  And, I think we've crossed that chronological line.

Our kids are great, as are our grandkids. We do try to plug into their lives, but because of substantial distance, we usually do it via FaceTime or phone calls and occasional visits.  This technology allows us to be part of their lives, but in a limited way.  We saw our granddaughter eat her first bite of cereal and we've seen one of our grandsons take his first tentative steps and then grow into a toddler and now a full-fledged walker.

We've outgrown our house as empty-nesters and we are contemplating the next move.  Condo?  Climate?  Nearer to the kids?  Money?  How much can we swing?  

The sand in the hourglass seems to be moving quicker and quicker.  These are points to be dealt with this year.  They are all positive, I guess.  

Life is a big series of phases.  There's the first time the baby sleeps all night.  First time walking.  Then they talk.  You turn 50.  Kids graduate from high school.  Then college.  Their first jobs.  You walk your daughter down the aisle.  Stand next to your son as his best man.  And then the grandkids.

My junk mail has even gone through phases.  A couple of years ago, everybody was trying to sell me hearing aids.  Now I'm getting mail from funeral homes.

Yup, this is the year to double-check how I use my time.  Less Dr. Phil watching and more doing what I really want to get done.